7 responses to “Engineering is a Zoo”

  1. gasstationwithoutpumps

    We do the Meyer-Briggs inventory (or a knockoff of it) in our senior design classes as an aid to discussing team building (it is not all about getting the technical skills the team needs).

    The NT/SJ split you discuss here is misleading. The N/S (intuition/sensing) split is one axis, but T and J (thinking and judging) are orthogonal. If you want to use the Meyer-Briggs classification, you also have to be aware that not all splits are clean ones. I came out as ITJ (about equally N vs. S)—what surprised me in the last class was how many students were extroverts. After seeing how much socializing and how little engineering happened at some of their group meetings, I was less surprised.

  2. Chris Gammell

    I’m an INTJ though have been moving towards ENTJ. I was looking into this again because I’ve been getting tired of subjects once I learn them and want to get onto the next thing to learn (as opposed to mastering that subject). That also may just be a specific instance, but has brought the topic of introspection back into my life.

    What I will say is that I’m struck at how much people stick to the categories once they’re tested. I don’t really believe there are only 16 personality types. There are just 16 classifications. So I even find myself saying things like, “Well, what would an INTJ do in this situation?”, but that’s really wrong. It’s, “What would Chris do in this situation?”.

    As for SJ types, they seem a bit more prone to sticking to the rules, which has its ups and downs in an engineering firm. On one hand, it helps get things done when there’s work to be done and the work is similar (evolutionary product changes). On the other hand, when there is a big problem that requires a shift in thinking, they’ll chase their proverbial beaver tail. Conversely, NT types can be horrible to be around when there is work that just needs doing, because they keep wanting to change the rules and find a new way of doing something. Did I mention I get bored once I have learned how to do something?

  3. stove

    There are multiple ways to think about what “the rules” are. They can be established engineering methods, physical “laws,” or corporate procedures. I know lots of engineers that like to break or bend all three, and lots that don’t. The biggest source of friction is the corporate procedures one. After all, everyone admires the engineer that gets something done in a creative, outside-the-box way (at least, AFTER they actually get it done). But some people are sticklers for things like paperwork, proper documentation, and the like. I tend to befriend people who are the opposite, since that’s how I am. If my project is getting held up by something that I don’t think is worth my time, I get frustrated, as do a lot of people I know. Paperwork falls into that category.

  4. Chris Shepherd

    So; when you do these things how do you stop yourself answering the questions how an engineer should rather than what I do?
    Doesn’t that skew things towards a self-fulfilling prophesy?

  5. terry

    I have a theory based on my experiences why Engineers don’t like dealing with other people. Over the last 10 years my outgoing personality and my extroverted ways have diminished. As a Civil Engineer I spend all days dealing with morons, so now when I am not a work I would rather not deal with anyone at all! Engineers are at the bottom of the industry chain. We are the bearer of bad news, if something goes wrong blame the Engineer. Can someone give me a reason why being an Engineer is enjoyable? I can spend weeks on end calculating designs to be told by the concreter, who needs help tying his shoe laces, that he knows more my job than me. My chargeout rate is less than a plumber and I work more overtime in a week than most people do in a year. Clients know that we have no choice to do the extra work they throw our way because we won’t get the next project if we complain.

    Statistics indicate the most common reason school leaves choose Engineering at University is for no other reason than they are simply good at Maths! Based on this being good at Maths is just a curse…